A very special package came in the mail today.
It's Luke's very own book. And it's actually the fourth book (so far) that tells the story of our family. We are building quite a library.
I decided a long time ago that I needed a book that would familiarize Clara with the story of her adoption. I feared her growing up without us ever remembering to talk about it. Does that sound weird? It's just that while it's such a hugely important part of our lives, we don't think about it every single day because we're just living life. Not to mention that I sometimes forget I didn't give birth to her!
Our life with her is effortless, just as it should be. And I worried that in the beauty of that, I'd forget to tell her how she came to us and then one day, when she was twelve, I'd have to tell her everything. Okay, that would never actually happen, but it's just one of those things I feared as a new adoptive parent.
So, last April, when I received an email from a certain photo book company about a free photo book special they were offering, I jumped at the chance.
And soon, When God Gave Us Clara arrived to much fanfare.
Let's just say it was a HUGE hit with Clara. What child wouldn't love to read a book filled with pictures of people they know? It sat on our mantle because of the paper pages and only came down when she asked (which was all the time) and mommy held it.
As she grew older and more independent, that proved problematic. The paper pages started to break loose from the binding and Clara was no longer content to have me hold it.
Long overdue, I finally researched board book companies the week before Christmas and the new-and-improved second edition of When God Gave Us Clara arrived in time for the anniversary of the day we first met her.
It's shorter and, unlike the first edition, actually cost money (though it was extremely reasonable), but we love it. It's durable and looks like we got it from a book store. And the best part is it just sits in the basket with all their other books and they pull it out to read it whenever they want. I actually caught Luke sitting in the corner reading it today, pointing out people in the pictures.
I highly recommend the company (and yay for being in Upstate NY!). Among the many option they offer is a customizable book by a well-known children's book author that is super cute. I already gave one of those to my niece.
Clara loves this book too. It's really about the story of her first year, which adoption happens to be a big part of. But it's also about her growing big, getting a little brother, and celebrating her first birthday.
Her favorite part is pointing out all her relatives in the photos.
So when the same photo book company sent me another email about a free photo book offer, I hurried and designed Luke's. You can't beat free! Well, you could if I didn't have to pay eight dollars in shipping and tax, but that's a small price for what you get.
This time I got to correct all the things I didn't love about Clara's first edition, like making the photos and print bigger.
I was very happy with it when it came today and so was Luke.
Of course, it's those good ol' paper pages again and probably won't last very long, but that's okay. It'll hold him over until I make him a board book too.
Oh, and there's one other book, but this one I didn't have any part in ordering.
Ryan surprised me with this book for Christmas. It's all four parts of our adoption story as it appears on this blog. Apparently there's a company which can turn blogs into books. Pretty cool, huh? And so incredibly thoughtful of him. I absolutely love knowing I have our special life-changing story of meeting our precious daughter on a shelf in our home.
And, of course, one day when she outgrows the board book, she can move onto this.
Hopefully our collection will only grow over the years if God sees fit to give us more little miracles. But if not, all I have to do is turn to these books to remember just how blessed I already am.